Believeland

ESPN has a new one of its “30 for 30″programs out.  It’s called Believeland, and it’s about (gulp) professional sports in Cleveland.

Russell and I were talking about it the other day, and he asked if I had watched it.  And I had — at least, the very first part.  But when we got to The Drive, and I knew that The Fumble would be close behind, and then I would have to re-live the Indians’ World Series losses and Michael Jordan’s shot to beat the Cavs and the Browns leaving to go to Baltimore, I switched it off.  It was just too painful to watch all of that crap, again.  Living through it once and feeling like you have been not only utterly forsaken, but also the object of affirmative torture by the sports gods, was more than enough.

il_214x170-890063290_27m0I was kind of embarrassed to admit this to Russell, who also is a Cleveland sports fan.  But Dads who are sports fans have to be honest with their kids about it.  There’s good in being a sports fan, but there’s also a lot of pain and angst and feeling like an idiot because you care so much about a team that you can’t sleep when they lose a big game and sometimes you admit in candor that a bad loss will not only wreck your day, but also wreck your month or even your year, and that there are some bad things that happened — like those mentioned in the preceding paragraph — that will haunt you for the rest of your days until you go toes up.

Interestingly, Russell said he enjoyed the program, because he hadn’t lived through it, and he felt it gave him an understanding of Cleveland and its beleaguered fans that he just hadn’t had before.  It was educational, rather than painful.  And maybe that’s the right way to look at it.  Maybe, until that glorious day in 2137 when a Cleveland team finally wins another world championship, every Dad or Mom who indoctrinates his child into the brotherhood of Cleveland sports fanship should sit that child down in front of the TV, make them watch Believeland, and then ask the crucial question:

Are you sure you’re ready for this?

Cashing In On Tragedy

The death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012 was in every respect a tragedy.  Martin was shot by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, who claimed the shooting was in self-defense; a Florida jury later found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in connection with the shooting.

29906170001_4892088941001_4892074610001-vsNow Zimmerman is trying to sell the gun that fired the shots that killed Trayvon Martin.  This morning he’ll put the weapon, a Kel-Tec PF9 9mm handgun, up for on-line auction on a gun sale website.  He’s asking for a starting bid of $100,000 for the gun, which he describes as an “American firearm icon” in auction materials.  The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a brand-new Kel-Tec PF9 9mm handgun, by way of comparison, is $356.36.  Whether Zimmerman will actually be able to sell the gun is anybody’s guess — an earlier attempt at an on-line auction was highjacked by obviously fraudulent bids.

A jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of a crime in shooting Trayvon Martin, and we’ll never know exactly what happened the night Martin was shot.  But now we do know this:  George Zimmerman is a cheap, classless person who is trying to cash in on his role in the death of a kid.  It’s indecent, unforgivable, and grossly unfair to the family of Trayvon Martin, who have denounced the effort to sell the gun.  When several other gun sale websites declined to auction the gun on ethical grounds, it tells you all you need to know.  

It’s a free country, of course, and people buy and sell all manner of curiosities.  But selling the gun used in the Trayvon Martin shooting for big bucks is a new low.  It’s trafficking in death and blood money, and it’s wrong.